How Pa Adekunle Ajasin endorsed me
AHEAD of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, gubernatorial primaries in Ondo State, a governorship aspirant under the party’s platform, Akinola Awodeyi-Akinsheyinwa, in this interview, disclosed that intra-party crisis would not trail the eventual outcome of the exercise. He also noted that the wave of decamping from the ruling Labour Party,LP, is an indication that the incumbent administration has failed. Akinsheyinwa also spoke on other issues. Excerpts:
What has prepared you for the governorship of Ondo State?
My emergence had already been predicted over 30 years ago by the late sage, Pa Adekunle Ajasin during one of his second term campaigns. He emphasised the need for free education, which was the focal point of his government then. He said one day, one of the beneficiaries of the free education scheme would become the governor of the state.
I was privileged to be there, he came down from the podium and held on to my hand and said Aone day this young boy will become the governor of this state. Secondly, when I was delivering a lecture at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs, one of the commissioners from Ondo State heard what I was saying and he came to me asking me to come and do all the things I was saying for the state.
He arranged a meeting for me with the governor, Olusegun Mimiko at the Government House around 8.00 pm. Immediately he saw me he recognised because we had met before. I told him that it was an opportunity for the state to be among the energy dictators so that Ondo State can be like a mini Dubai.
After explaining to him he said he was sorry that he could not understand what I was saying that he would call his Chief of Staff. I met with the Chief of Staff and he too told me he too had a limited understanding of the project. He then introduced me to the current Commissioner for Finance, Mr. Akinyele Abimbola Ogundipe, who was then the Special Adviser to the Governor on Finance and Investments. After then, we agreed to form a 10-man committee, five from me and five from them. We were not successful due to the way it was handled.
Then I came to myself and said if these people without much know-how can govern this state why can=t I? That was what prompted me to contest. Being a member of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), I went back to my party to explain the situation of things and my feelings. I also saw the crying and yearnings of the people then I decided these mediocre cannot continue to be ruling us.
With over 30 aspirants contesting the gubernatorial ticket how do you intend to emerge as the candidate of the party?
Many are called few are chosen, I pray that the chosen one should be me. But what I will want you to know is that they are all credible candidates because ACN parades the best candidates so far. The party knows how to run its affairs. Secondly, if you see numerous candidates like this it shows the government of the day is not performing.
If he is performing no cabinet member will decamp to contest against him. You cannot see his party chairman and special adviser defecting to another party to contest against him. In my party we have a way of doing our primaries and our leaders know the best way to do this and by the grace of God I will emerge victorious. I can assure you that between now and June nothing less the seven to eight commissioners will leave the cabinet and join ACN. So we are the party to beat.
What is the assurance that post-primary election crises will not derail your party after the so called selection process by the party leadership?
Point of correction, we do not select. We do primaries like every other party. Our leaders have a structure on ground and the structure of emergence by any candidate will be put in place. I can assure you that nobody will decamp if he does not win because we are one big family. We are in one accord. God willing, once I win the primary I can assure you that all the members will support me because I am the first aspirant to declare my ambition for over two years now, and I worked closely with former chairman to revamp the party. So to me there is no fear.
If you are not picked as the candidate, will you still stay in the party and continue with the battle?
I told you I am a progressive. God forbids, if I am not chosen as the candidate of ACN I will continue to fight for the party’s course. I cannot leave the party, I was part of the people that revamped the party so why should I run? Everyone of us cannot be the governor, one must emerge while the other supports.